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Life as we know it can change in an instant.
  • Linda Cunnigham

A Strong Comeback

Life as we know it can change in an instant.  We’ve all heard this stated, but how many of us honestly know it firsthand?  FI member Melissa Ciuffini knows. Melissa suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in July 2020. Following a fall in the middle of the night, Melissa spent three weeks in a coma in an ICU unit.  She had to rely on breathing and feeding tubes for survival.  Melissa was paralyzed on her right side for six weeks upon waking from her coma. She was then brought to a rehab facility where she would relearn to walk and regain some mobility on her right side.

Home at Last

Finally, Melissa came home to her husband, Tom, and daughter, Janis.  But the road to recovery was far from easy and far from over.  But have you met Melissa?  She has a strong will for living and an unstoppable determination to succeed. In addition, she’s quite hilarious, which I imagine has helped her this past year. How do I know so much about her?

I’ve had the privilege of training Melissa, a member since 2014, for the past ten months.  Last December, Melissa and Tom decided it was time for her to come back to the gym, despite the pandemic, despite her condition, and despite the TBI.  They both believed and agreed that though Melissa had made tremendous progress up until that point, there was more to be done, more improvement to be achieved.

Training Makes a Difference

When I first met with Melissa, she had resumed limited daily activities, but she still struggled with balance and strength.  Meeting twice a week, we began to improve upon her “new” foundation by incorporating workouts that challenged her yet would not risk any decline in her previous progress through over-exertion.  By paying strict attention to her head and neck positioning and placing a strong emphasis on building core strength and balance movements, Melissa quickly saw progress in her workouts and daily activities. She and her husband have since resumed activities they once enjoyed, such as bike riding and hiking.  Her quality of life has improved; their quality of life has improved! To quote her husband, “Linda has been a blessing, as Melissa is not only physically stronger but has much more confidence since she began training.”  

All Worth It

As a personal trainer, I am constantly in awe and filled with admiration as I watch clients transform and gain strength.  Melissa has exceeded all expectations I may have had in the beginning, and she has shown me how hard work and perseverance can change your life, maybe not in an instant, but if you are consistent, over time. 

If Melissa can do it, so can you!

About the Author

linda cunningham

Linda Cunningham

Linda Cunningham is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Instructor, AAAI/ISMA Pilates Instructor, AAAI/ISMA Kids Fitness Instructor, and also certified in Zumba.

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